The Nice Thing About Strangers

Creative Non-Fiction Short Stories. :) Travel, Oldsters, Love, and Compassion.

Follow The Turtle

map of Amsterdam

I’d lost track of how many bridges I’d crossed, which was not my first mistake, but one among many. I thought I had been retracing my steps, but must have begun tracing someone else’s. With only an hour until I am due to meet with 30 new students, I can’t find my way back to where I’ve started. A man with a map passes like an angel! I ask if I can take a look. Of course, my map skills are nearly as excellent as my general sense of direction. So I stare at the colored canals and Dutch street names and feel even more distress.

“I’ve got another map,” He digs through his bag. “Here. It’s yours.”

I thank him, but stare at it just as blankly.

“Do you know where you are? We’re HERE.” He marks the map with a blob that resembles a turtle. And, glory, it works. I find my way. I begin to recognize landmarks and find the names from the map on the sides of the buildings.

So I break out helplessly in a grin–a ridiculous one. I’ll make it on time. I’ll have plenty of time! I make my way with growing delight, grinning so much that small children smile at me, grandmas on bicycles smile at me. A man driving a tram gives me a giant wave and a matching grin. Pedestrians waiting at stoplights, clerks at cafes, flower salesmen behind their blooms–the city seems to share my relief, my joy at finding a path back home. Dank je wel!

-Amsterdam, The Netherlands.

7 comments on “Follow The Turtle

  1. Picture-Bandit
    September 20, 2013

    I can relate… I usually get lost I even enjoy it but the surprise in Amsterdam was that I usually ended up where I started, travelling over countless bridges in circles. Still an awesome visit.

  2. vanbraman
    September 20, 2013

    I also found that it was difficult to navigate through Amsterdam. I was with a colleague from the Netherlands, but he didn’t live in the city. We made it to where we were headed though. A very interesting city. Especially all the fumes from the coffee shops and the area with the single color lights 🙂

  3. Expat Eye
    September 21, 2013

    Smile and the world smiles with you! 🙂

  4. anglophiletoad
    September 21, 2013

    Following turtles is ALWAYS a good idea!

  5. Steven Wordsmith Lincoln
    September 23, 2013

    Your story, like your smile, is infectious.

  6. adinparadise
    October 3, 2013

    I can get lost going to the bathroom and back, even if I have a map, so I can relate to your joy. Lovely post. 🙂

    • thenicethingaboutstrangers
      October 4, 2013

      LOL! Maps are almost more intimidating, but this can lead to some problems when abroad in a new place. Usually, if I find a roundabout way to get where I am going, I’ll have to follow that route indefinitely! 😀 Thanks! Nice to see you!

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This entry was posted on September 20, 2013 by in Blogging, Europe, Happiness, Travel, Writing and tagged , , .

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